Today (21 December) marks the 7th anniversary of the first day that same-sex couples were able to enter into a civil partnership in England and Wales (19 Dec in Northern Ireland and 20 Dec in Scotland).
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 enabled same-sex couples for the first time in UK history to have their relationship recognised in law. It also gives them equivalent rights and responsibilities as to marriage.
Last week the Government published the results of its equal marriage consultation, and announced that it would introduce legislation next year which allow same-sex marriage.
We will also introduce a process that will allow civil partnerships (now numbering some 50,000) to be converted into a civil marriage; and change the law so that individuals can legally change their gender while remaining married - putting an end to the distressing process of having to end a marriage or civil partnership before a full gender recognition certificate can be issued.
Equality for all
“The Civil Partnership Act 2004 marked a significant milestone in UK history and I am proud to be celebrating the 7th anniversary of its implementation,” said Women and Equalities Minister Jo Swinson. “It’s great that around 50,000 couples have already made that commitment.”
“But we also recognise that some people view civil partnerships as different from marriage and feel this is unfair.
“Our priority is to provide equality for same-sex couples, which is why we are introducing legislation next year to ensure that same-sex couples can marry. And those couples who are already in a civil partnership will be able to convert to a marriage if they so wish.”